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Year: 2015

Keith William Thompson was born on the 20th January 1941 in Castlemaine Victoria to proud parents Francis and Archibald Thompson and grew up attending the local Castlemaine Primary and High Schools.

At age 15 Keith left school and began an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic at the local Castlemaine Austin dealership.

Keith's first truck was an Austin tray that he used to pick up eggs from farmers within the district and deliver them to the local co-operative store in Castlemaine. It didn't take long for Keith to realise that an interstate career was what he longed for and he soon started working for JJ Leech & Sons driving a white Mustang semi flat top.

At 21 Keith sold his pride and joy, his first car, to enable him to place a deposit on a second hand Ford 600 prime mover with a 28 foot flat top. Keith worked tirelessly carting for a company named Express Freight, which meant he was away from home most nights trying to make a comfortable life for his family and to also pay off his much loved truck and trailer.

Tragedy struck at age 32, when Keith was involved in an accident in his Ford 600, leaving him seriously injured and losing his left leg. After a long battle with these health issues and the stress of losing his truck and trailer, Keith together with his extremely supportive wife, Carol, decided to get back into the transport industry and 'make a mile'.

It took great strength and a very smart business mind for Thompsons Transport to grow and become an extremely successful business, employing over 140 people at its peak, with its head office in Castlemaine Victoria and depots in Adelaide, Brisbane Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The fleet of over 60 vehicles were mainly Kenworths and Freightliners. Thompsons Transport was the preferred carrier for many multinational brands such as Colgate and Bridgestone and there was also a long association with companies such as McPhees, Star Track Express and many divisions of Toll. Keith also expanded into Warehousing and Distribution, which proved to be a very successful venture.

During this time Keith along with other Managing Directors of some well known transport companies, came together and began Combined Distribution Management CDM. This company has also proved the test of time and continues to provide logistical options to some well known Australian brands, such as Nestles and The Reject Shop.

Keith enjoys many pastimes, none more that music, so when the opportunity arose for Keith and Slim Dusty to cross the Nullarbor together, Keith couldn't resist. This trip was one of the last times in which Keith drove a T900 Kenworth roadtrain. Keith along with his wife Carol, Slim and his wife Joy set off across the paddock gathering material for Slim's next trucking album, Makin a Mile. On this trip Slim penned a song 'Haulin for the Double T', which is in specific reference to Keith and Thompsons Transport (TT). This song featured on that album, which went Gold and till this day a ARIA takes pride of place on the wall in Keith's office which was presented to him in recognition of Gold Sales of the album.

Keith's passion for the transport industry continues with his presence on the Board of the Tarcutta Truck Drivers Memorial and his yearly commute to Alice Springs to participate and recognise other individuals inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

Community is also in the forefront of Keith's thoughts. He was a Castlemaine Rotarian for a period of 26 years, only recently resigning from his position however he continues to support this group and attends weekly meetings when he is able to.

Now at age 74, Keith remains extremely active within the business which currently runs 20 vehicles, mainly servicing the eastern seaboard, Adelaide and with the occasional load to Perth. He has a very 'hands on' approach in all facets of the daily running of the company, which provides him with much satisfaction. Retirement is not on the cards just yet!

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